The understanding of organic architecture varies with differentinterpretations and responses. The process of a building is the subdivision ofitself, the parametric and the generative design.The psychological connection betweenarchitecture and an individual’s thoughts are the main attributes ofarchitecture. It creates a realisation of experience and engagement.
In this text I will discuss how aspects of organicarchitecture might have influenced the design nature of the Shell House byKotaro Ide. “The mission of an architect is to help people understandhow to make life more beautiful, the world a better one for living in, and togive reason, rhyme, and meaning to life.”– FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT, 1957 1In order to understand the meaning of organic architecture,the natural surrounding held inspiration to the designs and incorporation. Whenadapting to a particular landscape, it is important to compliment it ratherthan damage its beauty. Wright’s principle of organic architecture “is a naturalarchitecture-the architecture of nature, for Nature” 2and creative possibilities. It concerned the forms, colour, patterns and texturesand how the building can be adapted to a person’s use.
The purpose of designfor Wright was not styling a building, but for the building to have an intimateconnection with the place and site. Wrightfavoured Japanese architecture in method of unifying man and nature. Wright wasable to integrate the house with the waterfall.The Shell House located in Karuizawa, Japan is a holidayvilla.
It had great inspiration from Wright’s Fallingwater House as bothcorrespond with their unique natural surroundings and incorporate nature withintheir design. Ide had the opportunity to explore the uniqueenvironment. The conditions in Karuizawa are very moist and damp.
The decisionto raise the building from the ground helped to protect the villa from thisharsh environment.According to Ide, “Design has to be accompanied by logic, function, and reason”. 3Ide’s thoughts for the building was designed to enable the building to co-existharmoniously with nature rather than forcibly incorporate nature. The isolatedlocation allows the futuristic building to blend in with the traditionalJapanese landscapes. It has a synthetic quality to the landscape where theshape shelters from the nature and manipulates movement through surroundings. Both Wright and Ide incorporated nature within theirdesigns differently. For Wright, the purpose of a building was very important incomparison to Ide who focused on harmonising the building with its surrounding froma rationalist approach.
Concrete was a key element to both Wright and Ide’s architecturaldesign. Both of whom had used it for different purposes.The Fallingwater House uses concretecantilever slabs which are projected over the stream and rocky banks. Thecombination of reinforced concrete and natural stone is well suited for thedamp climate. The overhanging edges were smoothed and rounded creating agentler appearance. The Fallingwater House holds many aspects oforganic architecture, the unique design and shape of the house responds to therocky banks and the running river.
The cantilevered ledges create a moremysterious atmosphere within the landscape. In comparison to his other designedbuildings, the Fallingwater house was a late example of using the site’ssurroundings as an inspiration to his design.The materiality used for this house combinesthe surrounding landscape with an interior feel.
The broad use of glass and nosolid walls facing the waterfall draws in a clear view of the skyline and theforest opposite. This allowed nature’s ambiance to be bought into the interiorspace. The terraces connect the housewith the profound beauty of nature. The overlaid terraces vary in directionswhich they point, creating a sculptural element to the house.
All in which havebeen designed to be planes raised parallel to the ground. This complex designhad structural issues regarding the horizontal forces. The choice inmateriality had resolved this matter.
For Wright toconnect the house with the site it had “a definite masonry form”4 with a cantilevered structure. This was hisfirst project using concrete for a residential building. The diverse use forconcrete through casting into shapes and the increase in strength propertieswhen steel is reinforced had fascinated Wright’s opinion upon the material. The different approach to concreteby Ide has been implemented through the smooth organic shaped building harmoniseswith its surroundings.
Organic architecture commonly uses a concrete structure,as used for Wright’s Fallingwater house. “The existence of the structuredepends on its power to endure nature.5” Theclarity between the structure and nature affects the purpose quality.Thereis a distinct contrast between the two elements, structure and nature. Theharsh concrete structure clashes with the green landscape.
The use of concretesuits well with nature and also in prevention of mould from developing. Thedouble-glazed windows inbuilt into the subtle shell allows uninterrupted viewof the surroundings and allows as much light to enter the two-storey interiorspace, creating an open and freeness environment.There is a contrast between the structureand nature which has been represented through the versatile properties enduringthe damp and humid climates which both buildings are situated. Wright had focusedon understanding the material quality and structural properties. The abilitiesof concrete formed a sculpture whether or not it was Wright’s main intention.
Idewho developed a more seamless smooth shape from concrete had grasped theunderstanding of connecting concrete with the site in order to create a fluidbuilding complementing movement with and around the site. Thespace in which a person moves throughout a building provides structure to theplace. The perception of identification and orientation provides a sense ofunderstanding place and how one is ought to move about.Thishas most certainly been carried out, the natural flow of water from thewaterfall produced an endless sound of flowing water. The open planned floorallows the sound of clashing water to travel throughout the whole house.Thishouse had been built in two parts, the first was the client’s main house builtin 1936-1938, the second part was in 1939, this was the guest room. A signatureelement to Wright’s design is the placement of the fireplace, the fireplace isthe focal point and the heart of a room. Thelarge glass panelled windows allow for natural light to enter.
However, thedark and narrow passages circulating through the spaces creates an experienceof compression between the walls, but once moving towards the outdoors thesense of expansion happens. The low ceilings in the rooms reach up to 6’4 andit is in direct eyeline to nature. 1About Frank Lloyd Wright | Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Frank LloydWright Foundation.
Retrieved 12 January 2018, 2WRIGHT, F. (2017). ORGANICARCHITECTURE The Architecture of Democracy. London.
UK: LUND HUMPHRIES (21,60-61).3 Shell Residence by Kotaro Ide | Yatzer. (2010). Yatzer. Retrieved 11January 2018.4 AD Classics: Fallingwater House / Frank LloydWright.
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